Henceforth space by itself, and time by itself, are doomed to fade away into mere shadows, and only a kind of union of the two will preserve an independent reality. (Herman Minkowski, 1908)
The universe is made of different types of matter and energy traveling through space as time passes unnoticed. Until the time of Einstein, scientists thought and discussed time and space as though they’re absolute and distinct, which is the way they appear to our senses in everyday life. But what if reality is different then it appears?
At the beginning of the twentieth century, Albert Einstein introduced the idea of space and time intertwined in an amazing manner described mathematically by Einstein’s theories of relativity. A scientific theory originally published as two separate parts; the general and special theories of relativity, Einstein’s theories of relativity are currently the most accurate method scientists have to predict physical theory in our universe.
The goal of this series of articles is to show the ability of Einstein’s space-time to help us understand the true nature of physical reality in the universe. This will be accomplished by first providing knowledge and understanding of the flat space-time of the special theory of relativity and consequences of the theory such as length contraction, the twin paradox and time dilation. Next, we’ll offer an introduction to the nature and consequences of the curved space-time of the general theory of relativity, including the idea of an ever-expanding universe, and the nature and meaning of black holes.
The first article in the series is titled “Einstein’s Revelations on Space-time”. This article will be posted during the months ahead and talk about the life and work of Albert Einstein and its stunning revelations for space-time. Einstein’s theories of relativity and their dramatic consequences concerning the true nature of space-time are considered by many to be the greatest scientific discovery of the century. They have replaced ideas concerning the true nature of space and time believed since the age of Newton and Galileo, and are often difficult to grasp at first. In order to better comprehend the theories of relativity readers need to abandon preconceived notions concerning the nature of time and distance measurements, simultaneity, and causality in the universe.
Time and distance measurements in Einstein’s space-time will surprise and startle you and simultaneous events will fool you if you aren’t mentally sharp. The limiting nature of the speed of light also results in interesting consequences for cause and effect in the universe.
Welcome to Einstein’s universe!
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